If you want to buy a good pair of headphones that you can easily rely on and trust for a long time, you look at the offerings from Sony. The company has a history of some of the finest products in the market and only seems to be going forward with them. Whether you are talking about studio headphones, wireless offerings, or their true wireless offerings; they do have something for everyone.
The past couple of years have been pretty great for Sony; the triumphant release of the Sony WH-1000XM3, as well as the Sony WF-1000XM3, and the Sony WH-XB900N that we recently reviewed only goes to show that the Japanese are serious about leaving their mark in the audio industry.
While reviewing the WH-XB900N, we had this strange idea of comparing it to its elder brother, the WH-1000XM3. While both headphones do share the price difference of about $100, we decided it would be cool to compare these and see how well they fare.
It would not be a headphones comparison if we do not talk about the sound quality of the headphones. After all, that is one of the main factors that potential consumers are going to be looking for, and that is the good bit here.
The sound on the WH-XB900N is definitely good, however, as the name suggests, these headphones are for those who prefer booming bass that can shake the head. I know it is not something that everyone would prefer, but in all honesty, as someone who used to listen to songs with heavy bass, I get where Sony is aiming. Needless to say, the bass on these headphones is definitely great through and through and the overall sound quality complements it, as well.
On the other hand, the WH-1000XM3 does have good bass, but these headphones are more suited for overall use. They are really good when it comes to handling different frequencies. Needless to say, the sound on the WH-1000XM3 is a lot more refined overall and will give you a better experience, too.
If you are looking for a more refined sound with no frequencies getting lost in the mix, then going for the WH-1000XM3 is the best thing that you can do. However, if you are looking for sound quality that focuses heavily on the bass, then investing in the WH-XB900N would make more sense. However, since we are judging headphones based on the overall sound quality, the winner is definitely the WH-1000XM3.
Design and Build Quality
Sony has been paying close attention to how their headphones have been designed, and how good the build quality is. I have to admit, a few years ago, the design language alone with the build quality was all over the place. However, we are slowly at the point where we can tell that things have changed a lot and in a better way, too.
For starters, the design on both headphones is largely similar. At first glance, you might not be able to tell the difference at all but there are some minor design cues across the board that allows you to distinguish between the pairs. Needless to say, the design is minimal and looks coherent across the board.
The build quality is something that had me a little worried because Sony has had some hit and miss with it. but thankfully, the build quality on both headphones is solid. You do not really feel that Sony has cut corners with the cheaper WH-XB9000N either. Both headphones have really solid build quality, and that is what we love about them.
As far as features are concerned, Sony has been killing it for some time. This was already evident when they released the MDR-1000X but over time, the company has only improved the overall feature set of the headphones.
Both the WH-1000XM3 and the WH-XB9000N have similar features as well as active noise cancellation and touch controls. So, there is not much to complain about here. However, the one factor where I noticed some disparity is when you are comparing the active noise cancellation on both headphones. On the XB-900N, the active noise cancellation is certainly there, but it is not as refined. This is not something that everyone will be able to notice but as an audiophile, it certainly is something that I noticed and I am pointing it out, as well.
Gone are the days when wireless headphones suffered from average battery life. Things have changed so much ever since and the battery life has gotten only better than it used to be.
Both WH-1000XM3 and WH-XB900N are rated at 30 hours of battery life, which certainly is an impressive endurance rating. In my testing, I was able to push these headphones to about 28 to 29 hours with active noise cancellation turned on.
Needless to say, this certainly an impressive achievement in the world of wireless technology because you can easily last an entire day on music if you are using these headphones. Both headphones can be charged fairly easily as well and will not cause any hassles in the way.
Both of these headphones are made for a different crowd, and that is something we cannot deny. However, it is important to understand given their nature, they do belong to the same category, hence, allowing us to compare them with each other.
The conclusion is simple; if you are looking for an all-rounder pair of headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is the go-to pair. They will give you everything that you want from a pair of headphones, and more.
If you are looking for something that is good with the bass, regardless of other frequencies, then the Sony WH-XB900N is the way to go.
Both headphones cater to a separate crowd, but we can assure you that buying these will not be the wrong choice.